WDC backs bike trail

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Waikato District Mayor Allan Sanson is one of three Waikato mayors who will next week sign agreements committing their councils to the Te Awa Great New Zealand River Ride.

The cycle trail will follow the Waikato River for 70km, from Ngaruawahia through Tamahere to Horahora, opening up parts of the wider Waikato not usually accessible to visitors.

Driven by the Te Awa River Ride Trust, whose members include Olympian and Tamahere resident Rob Waddell, the project has the support of several companies and local councils. It is hoped it will become a major tourist attraction.

Describing the route through Tamahere, the trust website notes that “the trail passes two golf courses, the Narrows and Lochiel, and continues to the Mystery Creek Events Centre. At this point a small excursion takes the cyclist to the Mystery Creek Winery and the renowned Woodbox restaurant. At Mystery Creek a swing bridge gives access to the east side of the river which features the Pencarrow Stud, waterfall’s en masse, stunning glow activity, hidden and untouched sandy beaches, an art gallery [Inspirit Gallery] and significant Maori Gardens from 200 years ago that are cited as the best in New Zealand.”

The section of the cycleway passing through Tamahere is projected to be completed in mid-2015.

The agreement signing on Monday, November 19 at Waikato Museum will formalise the commitment of Waikato District Council, Hamilton City Council, and Waipa District Council to the project, the councils said in a statement. Their financial contribution to the project was not detailed.

Sanson, Hamilton Mayor Julie Hardaker, and Waipa District Mayor Alan Livingston will sign for their councils and Te Awa trustee and former Olympic champion Sarah Ulmer for the trust.

Sanson said that for years he had seen people cycle to work from Ngaruawahia and Horotiu to Hamilton.

“With Te Awa there is now a safer way to do this as the cycleway will primarily be [vehicle] traffic-free, it has an excellent surface and easy contour. What a great community asset.”

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